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1984
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PAST Group Reads 2018 > 1984- June- SPOILER THREAD (original)

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message 1: by Marnie (new) - added it

Marnie (marniekeister)


message 2: by Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (last edited May 30, 2018 06:48AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) In the last couple of years, this book, along with The Handmaid's Tale, has found itself back in the limelight. In my view, this book has nothing on The Handmaid's Tale. However, it does incite fear as the dystopia in this novel is both plausible and horrific. It's important to read these books and heed their warnings. George Orwell would be proud that unlike the destruction of literature that is described in 1984, his works are still relevant many decades later.


message 3: by Denise (new) - added it

Denise Lauron (dlauron) | 13 comments This was on my junior high reading requirements, but i think i never finished it. I am glad it showed up on the list because I will get to complete a dnf.


message 4: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
This is one of those books that people often refer to, or quote from ("big brother") even if they haven't read it. I read it as a teenager, but my memories of it are mixed up with other books, such as Brave New World.


message 5: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jun 02, 2018 10:51PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
EDIT - JUNE 3 - SPOILERS ALLOWED.

This was the original thread and it contains potential spoilers. So I created another thread that should remain spoiler- free.

These threads will remain in the Current Read Folder until June 30. They will be bumped down to a new folder, where you can continue the discussion. These threads will all remain open.



Jerome (tnjed01) | 21 comments I'm in. We read both 1984 and Brave New World in high school. I mentioned finding an interesting English podcast where they were debating which was more predictive of our current situation, the authoritarian dystopia of Orwell or the hedonistic dystopia of Huxley. They didn't consider the misogynistic/theocratic dystopia of Atwood.


message 7: by Denise (new) - added it

Denise Lauron (dlauron) | 13 comments I've ordered the book. Waiting for arrival


message 8: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited May 30, 2018 10:51PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Jerome wrote: "I'm in. We read both 1984 and Brave New World in high school. I mentioned finding an interesting English podcast where they were debating which was more predictive of our cu..."

(Atwood - meaning Handmaid's Tale?)

Did they have a conclusion? What do you think Jerry?

I only remember a little about Brave New World (the recordings or saying they used to convince each person that his status/group was the best one to be in).

Just on the basis of the words, I'd say that our culture is leaning toward a more hedonistic than authoritarian dystopia, despite the fact that we have some leaders who are seeking or using authoritarian control. Our lack of privacy might make us vulnerable to control, but our access to information makes it harder for politicians to get away with as much.

Hedonistic sure sounds better than authoritarian to me. Though if I were the boss, I might feel differently. : o)


message 9: by Jerome (last edited May 31, 2018 07:39PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jerome (tnjed01) | 21 comments NancyJ wrote: "Jerome wrote: "I'm in. We read both 1984 and Brave New World in high school. I mentioned finding an interesting English podcast where they were debating which was more predi..."

Yes, I read 1984 in 1977 or '78, before Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid's Tale, which is why I want to read that now, as well as Brave New World and 1984 again. The podcast is called Intelligence Squared :

Intelligence Squared

Of course, my answer is that they are not mutually exclusive. We've been veering between the two, but I would say Orwell is rising again. I loved Atwood's commentary in the GAR launch episode that she was careful to only describe events that have actually already happened in the past to fight the idea that "that couldn't happen".


message 10: by Denise (new) - added it

Denise Lauron (dlauron) | 13 comments Loretta wrote: "Denise wrote: "I've ordered the book. Waiting for arrival"

Look forward to your thoughts Denise! 😊"


It arrives Monday


message 11: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Jerome wrote:

I loved Atwood's commentary in the GAR launch episode that she was careful to only describe events that have actually already happened in the past to fight the idea that "that couldn't happen".
.."


Yes,that was chilling. I need to read Handmaids Tale very soon! I remember only the basics from the (older) film.


message 12: by Heather (last edited Jun 01, 2018 02:11PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Heather (bruyere) I read 1984 after Brave New World and Handmaid's Tale. I felt like it was the weakest of these books. There were a few things I thought were interesting like Big Brother and just this idea of people always watching you. It was so different than other books I've read in that it predicted the rise of digital surveillance.

Brave New World is one of my favorite books ever, so I know I'm biased! I will say that, as a female, I find it really difficult to watch Handmaid's Tale show. I didn't feel as freaked out by the book. I think it's because the show makes it feel so much more possible and likely.

I guess my reason for a bit lower rating is because it doesn't given me a feeling of - which is worse. There isn't an apparent positive to the world of 1984 so there's not much philosophical element. It's kinda like reading a Philip K Dick book - interesting ideas, but maybe not in an interesting enough package.


message 13: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Kaso I read this & taught it. I just read an Alexander McCall Smith book (Careful Use of Compliments) in which the island & house in Scotland where Orwell wrote it are featured prominently. I would love to see them.

I appreciate this book, but it made me sick in many ways, more so as of late. Tyrants, torture, using words that are the opposite of what they are intended to mean, it is all too immediate. Such a bleak outlook, but it is an important book, and Orwell was a major writer.



Rosemarie This book is very bleak, but also very well written.


message 15: by Colleen (new) - added it

Colleen  | 47 comments This book is on my list. I've read Handmaid's Tale (yeah, I can read anything, but watching a movie is way harder - probably the visuals & acting) & Brave New World (it was okay). I need to get to this one.

Glad these discussion won't be locked, because my habits tend to revisit old threads and add my 2 cents as able. Better late than never, right?


message 16: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin (erin814) | 20 comments I started this one last night. unfortunately, I was down with a migraine today, but I'm looking forward to continuing and discussing it.


message 17: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Erin wrote: "I started this one last night. unfortunately, I was down with a migraine today, but I'm looking forward to continuing and discussing it."

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Mine were bad - but sometimes beautiful. I saw stars and auras sometimes. If it helps, they often get better after menopause.


message 18: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I feel for you too. I am a 3rd generation sufferer. Nasty things.


message 19: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Kirsten wrote: "I feel for you too. I am a 3rd generation sufferer. Nasty things."

Hi Kirsten, are you back from your trip, or posting from the road?


message 20: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Nope, not leaving until the start of next week. (Poor Misty, I haven't had the nerve tell her she's going to be going to the doggy motel.)


message 21: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
I wasn't 100% sure I read this before, but now that I'm reading it, it's all coming back to me.


message 22: by Bill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bill I read it many years ago and should again. I've also read Brave New World (more recently) and liked it but didn't love it. I've read The Handmaid's Tale a few times and love it.

What I particularly remember finding fascinating in 1984 was the Dictionary of Newspeak at the end. I'll have to check it out again but it seems so appropriate to the current US political situation; e.g the Electoral Integrity Commission, Fake News, Alternate Facts, etc...


Beverly Yes, what you say is true Bill. It is very close to the United State's current political situation.


message 24: by MJD (new)

MJD I read this a while ago and it's one of my favorite books. My favorite part was the discussion between O'Brian and Wilson. I mainly liked how O'Brian seemed to take a post-modern approach and Wilson took a modernist approach.

For those interested in this topic I would recommend The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker. I believe that he even references that very scene in the book.


Sheila (sheilaj) I just finished reading this for the first time.
(view spoiler)


message 26: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
MJD wrote: "I read this a while ago and it's one of my favorite books. My favorite part was the discussion between O'Brian and Wilson. I mainly liked how O'Brian seemed to take a post-modern approach and Wilso..."

Interesting! I'm not that far into yet (I may have to wait for the weekend), but I want to look for that discussion. I read a book by Steven Pinker last year - about violence - which was fascinating.


message 27: by Jerome (last edited Jun 10, 2018 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jerome (tnjed01) | 21 comments Just finished watching a Netflix documentary entitled "The Staircase", and without divulging spoilers for that, it is about a death, corruption, power of a local government to affect personal lives, sexual attitudes, the will to stand for truth, hate, and love. Highly recommended.

I was a child of the Watergate era, and a teen in the post-Vietnam era. Trust in government and politicians was at a low.

1984 reminds us to always be alert to assaults on freedom. I appreciate also the awareness that threats to freedom comes not only from government excess, but from corporate excess, and particularly corporate takeover of government.

Another danger I see is that such power and corruption has the potential not only to control our external circumstances, but more importantly our internal psyche and character.

I have just started Part 2, Ch. 2:
Spoiler Alert
(view spoiler)


message 28: by Lynn (new) - rated it 1 star

Lynn Was it just me? I did not like this book at all. I tried but I thought it was awful.


Debbie I love this book. This is a required read for the 11th graders at our school and I love how it as relevant today as it was when it was written. Very scary that it is so relevant.


Shauna I tried to like this book, too. I just found it depressing. I think it has merit as a great book because of the subject it poses and how it is written. I just prefer a book with a little hope in it somewhere.


message 31: by Jerome (last edited Jun 18, 2018 03:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jerome (tnjed01) | 21 comments Orwell echoes the psychoanalytic fashion of his time in this explanation of authoritarian rule and submission thereto:

(view spoiler)


message 32: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Jerome wrote: "Orwell echoes the psychoanalytic fashion of his time in this explanation of authoritarian rule and submission thereto:

...There was a direct connexion between chastity and political orthodoxy.
."


That's interesting. I learned about psychoanalytic theory too long ago to remember very much. Did Freud believe there was a connection between chastity and authoritarianism or political orthodoxy?

Would that mean that a politician with a very strong authoritarian leadership style was sexual deprived, or just the people who were willing to be led by an autocratic leader?

Some leaders seem to require strong authoritarian rule, while others are comfortable with a more democratic or participative approach. And some people can accept authoritarian rule, even when the leader is barely competent, and others cannot tolerate at all.


Jerome (tnjed01) | 21 comments (view spoiler)

Not just Freud, but other psychoanalytic thinkers, such as Erich Fromm in The Sane Society:

"The passive-authoritarian, or in other words, the masochistic and submissive character aims — at least subconsciously — to become a part of a larger unit, a pendant, a particle, at least a small one, of this “great” person, this “great” institution, or this “great” idea. The person, institution, or idea may actually be significant, powerful, or just incredibly inflated by the individual believing in them. What is necessary, is that — in a subjective manner — the individual is convinced that “his” leader, party, state, or idea is all-powerful and supreme, that he himself is strong and great, that he is a part of something “greater.” The paradox of this passive form of the authoritarian character is: the individual belittles himself so that he can — as part of something greater — become great himself. The individual wants to receive commands, so that he does not have the necessity to make decisions and carry responsibility."

The followers submit to rules imposed by leaders/institutions/other followers that glorify the leader. The leader is not sexually deprived, but uses others to add to his power. This is often seen in cults, where leaders increase their access to sexual relations, while minimizing competition from others (cf. David Koresh, Jim Jones, Warren Jeffs, John Noyes, etc)


message 34: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Jerome wrote: "[spoilers removed]

Not just Freud, but other psychoanalytic thinkers, such as Erich Fromm in The Sane Society:

"The passive-authoritarian, or in other words, the masoch..."


Very nice summary!

That all fits with my view of people who are happy in subservient jobs, and those who are happy supporting a leader who would rather be a dictator than a leader in a democracy. I thought this was a function of knowledge and abilities, personality (low Dominance, low need for power and autonomy, low confidence,), abilities, experience, education, self-efficacy and opportunities.
I was wondering if a lack of satisfaction of other needs (eg. sex, love, social support) plays a role too.

Based on all the sexual harassment and assaults revealed by the Me Too movement, it suggests that people in power view access to sex as a perk of the job. What is that Trump said? "If you're famous they'll let you do anything."


message 35: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (last edited Jun 18, 2018 05:22PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Jerome wrote: "Just finished watching a Netflix documentary entitled "The Staircase", and without divulging spoilers for that, it is about a death, corruption, power of a local government to affect personal lives..."

Same. It was hard for me to get through.

I can't quite put my finger on what I didn't like though.


Jerome (tnjed01) | 21 comments I like this quote from p. 243:

(view spoiler)

Sounds familiar. The "War on Christmas", the "War on Drugs", the "War on Terrorism". Is there a "War on Immigrants" today?


message 37: by Lynn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lynn Edler Just finished this as an adult reader. I remember reading it in high school (late 70s), and I remember it's tediousness. There is no way that I was able to understand the nuances of the story then as I did as an adult reader now,. I appreciate the sentiment and continue to find the dystopian issues eerie, especially in light of everything happening right now in the US; however, I still found it a tedious read.


message 38: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Jerome wrote: "I like this quote from p. 243:

[spoilers removed]
Sounds familiar. The "War on Christmas", the "War on Drugs", the "War on Terrorism".

Is there a "War on Immigrants" today?"


The president thinks so. But the "morale of the party" is a problem. Ryan and others refuse to be "ignorant fanatics" and they do not have "the mentality appropriate to a state of war."

I think he would love to have "the fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph" discussed in 1984. All these things seems to be present in North Korea, so why can't he have them too?

More than anything he wants adulation. Then fear. And yes, a parade, because Kim got one, and he wants to show the world that his people love him more than NK people love Kim. (And at least 5 million people will attend.)


message 39: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
NancyJ wrote: "Jerome wrote: "I like this quote from p. 243:

[spoilers removed]
Sounds familiar. The "War on Christmas", the "War on Drugs", the "War on Terrorism".

Is there a "War on Immigrants" today?"

The ..."


I think this is an incredibly apt observation.


message 40: by Jerome (last edited Jun 23, 2018 09:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jerome (tnjed01) | 21 comments Great description of "Doublespeak" on pp. 267-268:

(view spoiler)

It is very surprising that with all the availability of information resources with almost none of the restrictions foreseen by Orwell, that we still see so many examples of DOUBLETHINK.

And then further on p. 268:

(view spoiler)


message 41: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jul 31, 2018 05:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
I was wrong. Suddenly I'm seeing examples everywhere of 1984 connections to modern governments.

Last week Trump said this:
“Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
- @realDonaldTrump at Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, Kansas City

Orwell said this:
"The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command."


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